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Defroand thankful for friendly faces

PUBLISHED: 17:00 16 June 2017

Emily Defroand meets two young fans from former club Havering (pic Alex Semon)

Emily Defroand meets two young fans from former club Havering (pic Alex Semon)

Archant

Seeing familiar, friendly faces in the crowd made Emily Defroand’s first senior England appearance on home soil ‘extra special’.

Defroand, 22, won her sixth and seventh caps as England took on Argentina and the Netherlands at the Lee Valley Hockey & Tennis Centre and happily signed autographs and posed for photos after.

“There was a few familiar faces, a few from Havering Hockey Club, my first club, so that was really special to see them, a few from my old school Coopers,” she said.

“Iit was really nice just to have a look around and see who you could find. It was just amazing – very, very special.

“The home crowd does make a huge difference and that was probably the biggest crowd I’ve played in front of, so it was so special.”

Although beaten 5-1 by Argentina on Saturday, the England women bounced back to draw 2-2 with the Netherlands on Sunday, before losing a shootout.

And Defroand admitted it was a strange feeling to be playing in front of a crowd, rather than being part of the audience.

“It’s crazy. It’s not been easy, it’s not been a straightforward journey and I’ve had my ups and downs, but I’m so grateful to everyone that has supported me,” she added.

“I’ll never forget how much the school did for me when I was there and my old clubs, Havering, Old Loughts, I had four brilliant years at Birmingham and now obviously I’m at Surbiton, but it’s not been straightforward.

“But I’m so appreciative to everyone that has helped me along the journey, big or small, I couldn’t have done it without them.”

Defroand also gave special thanks to her own family and is hoping to now create some long-lasting memories.

“I looked up to my dad after the game and he did the West Ham ‘Irons’ sign, obviously with West Ham playing across the road!” she said.

“They have always been so supportive and I’ve been very, very lucky to have such loving, supportive family and they wouldn’t have missed this for the world.

“I’m trying to make them proud on the pitch and I’m so grateful. Hopefully it’s the start of a nice long journey. That’s the plan anyway!”

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